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Till death do us bird

February 5, 2010

As you may or may not know, I’m currently living the birding high life in Guatemala for a few days.  Instead of leaving you with a canned post of questionable quality, I’ve got something better in mind.  I’m turning the reins of this here blog over to a guest poster, my lovely wife Danielle who likely has a different perspective on this birding thing that what you’ve read here from me.  I leave this blog in her capable hands in the hopes that she plays fair, though when I’m thousands of miles away there’s really no way I can know for sure until I return.  So, have fun dear readers and dear wife, don’t be too hard on me…. – Nate


I was cheated on.

On my honeymoon.

With a bird.

Yes, you read that right. With a bird. Let me explain…it all started out so innocently. Four lovely years ago, my husband and I chose to honeymoon in Asheville, NC because we both love the mountains (at least I thought that was the initial reason). What better way to spend a honeymoon then hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway, sipping wine at the Biltmore, and freezing our asses off in the mountains hanging out at our lovely Bed & Breakfast? So I wasn’t at all suspicious when my husband suggested on the first morning that we drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at several spots along the way to hike and view the mountains. What I should have seen, however, were the several red flags that came up immediately. The first red flag? A pair of binoculars in the backseat of the car. “Ah, dear? Why do you have binoculars with you?” Husband: “So I can take in the beautiful mountains my love.” Right, of course. Second red flag? The bird field guide sitting in the middle console. “Um, dear? Why do you have a bird field guide in the car?” Husband: “Er, well, um, don’t you know you should never leave home without one?” Well, um, no I didn’t, but ok whatever. We had just been married, we were on our honeymoon, and I was stupidly willing to overlook anything.

So imagine my surprise when I see Nathan gazing into the TREES with his binoculars (not the MOUNTAINS mind you) and all of the sudden he screams, “It’s a black throated blue!!!!” A what? Is this a new mountain chain I haven’t heard of?

And that my friends, was the beginning of the end. The spotting of the black throated blue was apparently all it took to “reignite” Nathan’s passion in birds. I had suspected that he “liked birds” before we got married but never did I suspect that he would be as bird obsessed as he is now. So, I do believe that I was tricked. I mean, we talked about all sorts of things before we were married – religion, money, political views, favorite ice cream, but birds?? Who would have thought to ask if someone was obsessed with birds?? Maybe I need to suggest to the Rabbi to start incorporating that into his premarital counseling.

But bless Nathan’s heart (as the southerners like to say), he has certainly tried his hardest to rope me in to his obsession. Unfortunately (for him) and fortunately (for me) he has failed miserably. Case in point: Take our walk one day when I hollered, “Look!! Isn’t that the one bird you were talking about? The yellow bellied sapsucker??” “Um, no dear, that would be a red tailed hawk.” Er, right, cause they look so much alike, right?

And I’ll be the first to admit that I do sometimes make a mockery out of his birding hobby. I mean, take the picture below. Boobies are just plain funny. But boobies in trees?? Even funnier.

For all you non-birders (a.k.a. my friends who are reading this blog), that bird in the tree is called a red-footed booby

But don’t get me wrong, his birding obsession does sometimes have its pros. My mother, actually, is also a bird lover. Not nearly as obsessed as Nathan, but definitely a fan. So here’s how our first conversation went when I told her about Nathan.

Me: “Mom, I met this wonderful guy but there’s one thing…he’s not Jewish.”

Mom: “Oy vey.”

Me: “But I’m pretty sure he likes birds.”

Mom: “Mazel tov! Mazel tov! So when’s the wedding?”

Another pro about Nathan’s birding obsession? Having him take our 8 month old son Noah out with him in the field. Because really, 2 hours of birding with dad = 2 blissful hours of relaxation and quiet time for mom. I can’t tell Nathan the number of times that Noah has said to me, “Mom! Could you PLEASE get dad to take me out to Mason Farm again to see that chickadee?? I love those things!” Nathan assures me he’s really just saying “da da da ga ga ga” but I know better.

And because I’m a proud new mom, and need to somehow think of a way to integrate my son into this post, I leave you with this dear readers:

  1. February 5, 2010 9:14 am

    Excellent post Danielle!

    Indeed the tale of the long suffering WOB (wife-of-birder) may occasionally be one of woe, there are many good sides as well and you do a good job of finding the bright side of it.
    And be honest – even if he hasn’t roped you into birding, I bet you’ve at least seen some pretty neat stuff when he’s tried….

  2. February 5, 2010 9:16 am

    Wow, that is so great!

    Yes, I definitely think Nate was very … er … cunning, okay?

    And that last picture is a heart-breaker! If Nate sees it, he’ll surely seize the next canoe he can find on Guatemala’s Caribic coast and paddle back to NC.

    Cheers, Danielle, can’t wait for your next post!

  3. February 5, 2010 9:25 am

    Delightful read, Danielle! What a pleasure to have you filling in for Nate while he’s away. Don’t tell him I said so, but I think you should consider a regular gig here. You have a gift. And thank you for the early morning smile!

  4. February 5, 2010 9:54 am

    Nice post.

    I read recently that whalers’ wives in Nantucket would turn to opium while their husbands were away at sea. Yeah, that’s probably not the best idea…

  5. February 5, 2010 10:24 am

    Wow, I didn’t realize that Nate reignited his birding habit AFTER you were married. I say it was all a ruse. My bride is also a non-birder. I actually incorporated birding into our vows. I said, jokingly, “I promise to show you more birds than you’d ever want to see.”

  6. February 5, 2010 11:38 am

    Bravo, Bravo! Excellent post, my wonderful daughter-in-law Danielle! I’d say that he could be hanging out in bars, but then I understand that those Bloggerhead Kingbirds celebrate their lifers and overall bird experiences with libations!
    sigh……, I only wanted my children to enjoy the great outdoors!
    N8’s dad 😉

  7. February 5, 2010 11:53 am

    Great post, Danielle! It’s nice to see a different side of Nate.

    For the record, we did celebrate our lifers with libations, but we spent far more time in the near-zero cold than drinking.

  8. February 5, 2010 2:10 pm

    Great job Danielle. That was a fun read. My non-birding wife relates.

  9. February 5, 2010 2:45 pm

    Danielle, I believe that was the most eloquent and entertaining perspective from life-with-a-birder I’ve come across. I was going to recommend a regular guest gig, but forget that: you should have your own “birding-friendly spouse” site.

    And for the record, those libations during the Superbowl were all medicinal. Seriously – they helped keep Nate going after frostbite started settling in. At least, those were the shots throughout the day. The later ones were clearly celebratory.

  10. Danielle permalink
    February 5, 2010 3:33 pm

    @Christopher – thanks for the compliment! and you are right, i have seen some pretty cool things along the way because of his birding obsession. i gotta say the boobies really were the best. : ) what cool birds!

    @Jochen – many thanks! i’m almost certain nate in on that canoe right now to see his baby birder!

    @Jason – thanks so much for saying i have a gift and so glad i could make you smile. i also believe i earned my way to a regular gig but we’ll see what nate says after he finds out that i said he cheated on me! ; )

    @corey – what is this opium you speak of and where i might i find such a present??

    @patrick – yes, i was definitely tricked! i’m suprised nate didn’t put the same thing in our vows especially after i insisted on taking out the honor and obey part. : )

    @my wonderful father-in-law greg – well, sometimes beer and birds just have to go hand in hand, huh? and yes, i did forget to mention that one other big pro of nate’s birding obsession is that it does serve as a way to get noah interested in nature and i couldn’t think of a better gift for my son.

    @john – thanks! i heard about the ice cold – i’m glad you guys survived! and libations are a must after spending the day in the 4 degree weather. especially after you all jumped in the cold atlantic ocean.

    @avimor birder – thanks so much! i think there should be some sort of support group for us wives of birders, no?

    @mike – you are too kind! thanks! and nate told me you all had shots of hot chocolate throughout the day but i’m beginning to think that was a little bit of a fib…

  11. Karen permalink
    February 5, 2010 4:31 pm

    You’re a much stronger woman than I, my dear Danielle. My husband leaves me for months/years at a time to fight in war-torn former-Soviet countries. And gets paid to do so. Your husband leaves you for vacation-spots and species with strong genetic ties to dinosaurs. : ) Love the sign!

  12. February 5, 2010 7:44 pm

    I found this writing quite delgihtful and I look forward to more entries. Nice job~

  13. Danielle permalink
    February 5, 2010 8:40 pm

    @karen – you crack me up! and i must admit that i stole the sign idea from you!

    @mary – thanks very much!

  14. February 5, 2010 10:29 pm

    Be careful… if Nate discovers how well you can handle the blog for him he may just schedule more weekly departures to other exotic birding places!

  15. Danielle permalink
    February 5, 2010 10:32 pm

    @cyberthrush – crap, i didn’t even think of that.

  16. Lauren Gard permalink
    February 5, 2010 10:46 pm

    Love this, Danielle–I do believe our elementary school teachers would have been very proud of your fabulously entertaining writing style! And I do think that most husbands bring a secret or two into a marriage…unlike us wives, mind you. My husband, I swear, knew everything there was to know about me when we said “I do,” but I had no inkling that he can’t sleep with the sheets tucked in. Apparently his feet need to “breathe” at night. But heck, at least we’re married to fabulous men, birds and breathing feet and all! 🙂

  17. February 6, 2010 10:41 am

    Perfect post, Danielle! The photo of Noah at the end was a great touch. You can bring your brand of non-birding humor to 10,000 Birds anytime.

  18. Danielle permalink
    February 6, 2010 11:55 am

    @lauren – i hope you are right that our penn wynne teachers would be proud! i can’t stop laughing about your sheet comment!

    @mike – what a great compliment, many thanks!!

  19. Martha Swick permalink
    February 7, 2010 12:29 pm

    Hey Nath,

    She is a keeper! : )

  20. Lauren R. permalink
    February 8, 2010 10:17 am

    You are as funny as a red-footed booby in a tree. Great post, Danielle!

  21. Danielle permalink
    February 8, 2010 7:44 pm

    @Martha – Aw, thanks! : )

    @Lauren – YOU are as funny as a blue-footed booby!! Take that!

  22. Becky permalink
    February 9, 2010 1:02 pm

    Noah has gotten so big!! What a cutie. Great post, Danielle!

  23. Danielle permalink
    February 9, 2010 7:53 pm

    @becky – thanks becky! and, i know, i can’t believe how fast noah is growing!

  24. February 10, 2010 7:52 pm

    Enjoyed your post Danielle,
    Humorous, entertaining!
    Looking forward to more guests posts…and well, Nate might just be a bit jealous looking at all these comments u are getting here…

  25. Danielle permalink
    February 11, 2010 8:02 pm

    @Dawn – maybe THAT’S why i’ve been getting such cross looks from him around the house lately! : )

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